Philippine PassportPresident Barack Obama signed into law on March 23, 2010 the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare.” ACA is now a federal law. It represents the most significant regulatory overhaul of the country’s health care system since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

ACA aims to improve the quality and affordability of health insurance, lower the number of uninsured people by expanding public and private insurance coverage, and reduce the cost of healthcare for individuals as well as for the government.

The law also requires insurance companies to cover all applicants with new minimum standards and offer same rates regardless of pre-existing conditions or sex.

On June 28, 2012, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of ACA’s individual mandate.

Since the ruling, the law and its implementation have continued to face challenges in Congress, in federal court, and in some states.

We are bombarded with many press releases and news reports on ACA. We heard of or even experienced the problems plaguing the implementation of ACA. These problems ranged from computer glitches to different insurance coverage versions and conflicting explanations.

As consumers who will eventually avail ourselves of the insurance coverage that will be offered to us, we have several basic questions regarding ACA.

Following are some of the questions we have gathered: What is the minimum coverage provision? Should everybody have health insurance? If I do not get health insurance, is there a penalty? What types of coverage will satisfy ACA’s requirements? What happens if my family and I are covered by employer-provided insurance? What happens if my family and I are covered by Medicaid and Medicare? What is this exchange/marketplace all about? Will my parents (who are new immigrants with sponsored green cards) be covered?

All of these questions will be answered during a town hall meeting on ACA set on Saturday, December 7, 2013, at the Philippine American Community Center (PACCM) in Southfield. The event will start at 11 a.m. Lunch will be served. The discussion will begin at 12:30 p.m. and will end at 2 p.m. There will be a question-and-answer portion.

The Michigan chapter of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA-Michigan) will host the event with the support of the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission ( MAPAAC) and the Healthy Asian Americans Project.

The event is free as it is a community service by the sponsoring groups.

Anyone interested to attend the meeting is urged to e-mail me at misterwd2001@aol.com.

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Willie is a teacher at the Detroit Public School. A very popular and influential leader in the Filipino-American community in Michigan, Dechavez is the incumbent Michigan state chairperson of the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA) and public relations officer of both the Filipino-American Community Council (FILAMCCO) and the Philippine American Community Center (PACCM). A native of Sorsogon, Philippines, he is also vice president of the Bicol Association of Michigan. He is recipient of numerous awards.

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